Places of Worship – ideas of what you can do

If your place of workshop would like to be recognised with an award from City of Sanctuary, please have a look at the points below to see if this is something you could pursue. All places of worship are different so this is not meant to be prescriptive, rather it is a tool for self-assessment. The common denominator is that the worshipping community commits to being a place of sanctuary and affirming the value of each individual human being.

What we are doing already:

Steps for further development
Learn about what it means to be seeking sanctuary

Paid staff and volunteers
All staff and volunteers are aware of what it would mean to become a Place of Worship of Sanctuary.
All staff and volunteers are involved in the process.

Worshipping community
The community as a whole is aware of and welcomes this initiative.

Raising awareness
The staff, volunteers and community will become aware of
– Why people become refugees
– Where refugees come from;
– The differences between refugees and asylum seekers and other migrants;
– Why some refugees come to the UK and to your city;
– Why some refugees are destitute;
– Why refugees and asylum -seekers need protection.

Identify “Sanctuary Champions” who will work together to help the place of worship to learn about sanctuary and seeking sanctuary, and help to raise awareness.
The “Sanctuary Champions” will help to embed welcome, hospitality, inclusion and safety as part of the values of the whole of the place of worship, and to include refugees and people seeking sanctuary in activities.
The “Sanctuary Champions” will help their place of worship to draw up a policy document for discussion, agreement and adoption in a general meeting of the congregation, and then by the decision making body. This may include a decision to affiliate to a local City of Sanctuary group. It may also include an action plan of one or two simple actions to undertake over the next twelve months.

The worshipping community may already include asylum-seekers and refugees in its midst.
Opportunities are provided to enable the members of the community to meet asylum-seekers and refugees and to hear their stories.Take positive action to embed concepts of welcome, safety and inclusion.
Create a welcoming and supportive environment
Develop a welcoming, hospitable, inclusive environment in which strangers feel genuinely welcome.
Befriend homeless people, asylum seekers, refugees, people from the travelling communities and all those seeking sanctuary among us, and when appropriate assist them in facing difficulties with the authorities.
Work to build relationships of mutual respect and trust within the congregation in all its diversity
Incorporate appropriate activities into the education and social programme of the worshipping community.
Promote and listen to the stories/voices of those seeking sanctuary by inviting refugees or others seeking safety to come and speak to the congregation, and to share in other events or activities which may meet some of their needs.
Work at relating this to the theology and interpretation of the religious texts used in the place of worship.
Celebrate the contributions of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Offer your premises to be used by asylum-seekers and refugees for meetings or English classes.
Commit to wider local initiatives which aim to offer welcome, end hatred & hostility, and build cultures and communities in which all are welcome, valued and safe.
Support organisations and events seeking to offer information and hospitality.
Share your vision and achievements
Share what you are doing with other places of worship within your faith group. Encourage places of worship to work together.
Share what you are doing with other places of worship of other faith groups.
Link with your local City of Sanctuary group and local schools and libraries.
Hold events and/or exhibitions on the theme of sanctuary, possibly inviting local public figures to discuss points of concern.
Seek partners in all faiths and work with them.